Thursday, March 18, 2010

St Patrick's Day

Perfect evening for a walk last night, so I ventured downtown to see if anything was happening in Kirkland for St.Patrick's Day. It was still a bit early, 8:30 PM, so I didn't expect much.

"Holy Crap! Where did all these people come from!!??"

Almost every bar was packed, but the bar that stood out the most was the Wilde Rover Irish Pub (of course) - the line to get in was all the way down the block to the Tobacco Patch, and at times it would reach the corner, by Zoka Coffee, plus they were charging a $10 cover. (Hmmm? $10 X 1000+ people - not a bad night) This place is huge too, just looking through the front and back windows I could see that the entire restaurant was standing room only. I'm going to have to ask my Bouncer friend if they had any problems with that many Irish in one place. ;)

What's interesting is that St.Patrick's Day has a bigger turn out than New Year's Eve. Why is that?

Anyway, last weekend I finished up all the Da Vinci cigars that were left in my humidor -
Friday night at the Tobacco Patch - great turnout and perfect weather.
Saturday night dinner party at my house - way too much booze.
Sunday late afternoon - waxing the car. (wife's car)
Great cigars. If I had to choose between an Oliva and a Da Vinci, I'd still choose the Oliva, but these are pretty good smokes, very reliable, and the price I paid for them was equally incredible, so I'm pretty pleased all around. Nice job Da Vinci!

Stopped by Rain City Cigars in Georgetown yesterday and asked them what's up with the cigar tax legislation that's being debated right now? What started out as an increase of $3 per stick is now down to around .16 cents, but that's subject to change. We may know by the end of next week what the final increase will be. Politicians aren't dumb you know, they start WAY high on the tax increase knowing full well that they're going to get something, just not everything.

So me being the concerned citizen that I am, wrote to all my representatives in Olympia to complain about the pending legislation, most of the replies that I received back were quite positive, but the one that kind of pissed me off was from State Senator Rodney Tom. Here's a portion of his canned reply:

"The only way we are going to be able to realistically reduce our health care expenditures is by addressing the two most prevalent causes of exorbitant health care costs - smoking and obesity.

In Washington State alone we spend over $2 billion on health care expenses that are directly associated with smoking. State government alone spends over $651 million in taxpayer dollars each and every year on Medicaid services covering the cost of smoking related illnesses.

The great news in Washington State and King County specifically, has been the massive reductions in the numbers of smokers who have quit due to policies we've pursued over the last seven years. The last increase in cigarette taxes coupled with the prohibition on indoor smoking has greatly reduced the number of smokers and smoking related health care expenditures in our state. We have gone from over 20 percent of our citizens smoking to near 15 percent. In King County, we've seen an even more dramatic drop from 18.5 percent in 2000 to the current estimate of just under 11 percent.

Smoking is very price sensitive, especially among our teenage children, and this $1 increase will help prevent over 74,000 children from taking up this unhealthy activity that has shortened so many lives. I think all of us can agree that having 74,000 young children not taking up this habit is a good thing."

Technically speaking, I could care less about the tax on cigarettes, my concern and the concern that I stated in my email to my congressman was the tax on cigars. Even so, if I'm not mistaken the Senator states that there are two prevalent causes of exorbitant health care cost, smoking AND obesity. I see no mention in his email addressing the problem with obesity. Using the Senator's logic, shouldn't we bring back the sales tax on food? (Washington law exempts most grocery type food from retail sales tax)

What pissed me off even more was the fact that he made no mention of cutting government spending.

Anyway, we'll see what happens. The real problem isn't necessarily the tax, it's the fact that the Washington cigar retailers won't be able to compete with out of state and/or internet retailers. Right now it's a matter of convenience for me, but if the tax goes up too much, I'll have to look elsewhere.

Stay tuned...

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